School of Chemical Engineering, Yeungnam University, 280 Daehak-Ro, Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk, 38541, Republic of Korea; Department of Nano, Medical & Polymer Materials, College of Engineering, Yeungnam University, 280 Daehak-Ro, Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk, 38541, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [Email]
The biological synthesis of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) from graphene oxide (GO) is an emerging phenomenon for developing biocompatible nanomaterials for its potential applications in nanomedicine. In this study, we demonstrated a simple, green, and non-toxic method for graphene synthesis using the live biomass of Lysinibacillus sphaericus as the reducing and stabilizing agent under ambient conditions. Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopic analysis confirmed the formation of graphene from GO suspension. X-ray diffraction studies showed the disappearance of the GO peak and the appearance of characteristic graphene broad peak at 2θ = 22.8°. Infrared analysis showed the decrease/disappearance of peaks corresponding to the oxygen-containing functionalities, and appearance of a peak at 1620 cm-1 from unoxidized graphitic domains. Scanning electron microscopic images showed that L. sphaericus-reduced graphene oxide (L-rGO) contains aggregated graphene nanoflakes. Evaluation of the in vitro cytotoxicity of L-rGO nanosheets on human skin fibroblasts using the WST-1 assay did not show any significant effects after 24 h of exposure, which is indicative of biocompatibility. Polyacrylamide hydrogels with L-rGO were synthesized and used as scaffolds to support the growth and proliferation of skin fibroblasts. Cell viability assays and DAPI staining showed proliferation of fibroblasts and exhibited 83% of cell viability even after 28 days. Biofilm formation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus was enhanced in nanocomposite hydrogels in the presence of 0.25 mg/mL GO and L-rGO in 48 h. Overall, this study showed that microbially-synthesized L-rGO can be used as a dopant in polymeric scaffolds for tissue engineering and highlighted their role in biofilm formation.